On Thursday, NBC’s Today stayed silent on the potential firing of Andrew McCabe and the allegations that he misled investigators delving into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal. ABC’s Good Morning America also ignored the story. This is despite a combined six hours of air time.
Only CBS This Morning covered the story, allowing a scant 92 seconds. Co-host John Dickerson noted, “Andrew McCabe is accused of lack of candor when talking with FBI officials about the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and his... contact with a reporter who wrote about it.”
Reporter Paula Reid quickly jumped to the impact of firing McCabe, just days before he is set to retire: “But if Attorney General Jeff Sessions fires him, he could lose his pension, which amounts to potentially millions of dollars in retirement.”
As the MRC’s Nick Fondacaro noted, this fretting about McCabe as the victim also occurred on ABC, which covered the story on Wednesday. World News Tonight anchor David Muir worried:
We are following what will be a major decision by President Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Will he fire a top FBI official just days before his retirement? The FBI's outgoing deputy director, Andrew McCabe, four days from retiring. His pension now at stake.
On This Morning, Thursday, Reid informed the show’s hosts that a firing is likely, spinning Jeff Sessions as weak: "But we know the Attorney General is under scrutiny from the President and this is an internal recommendation. So, sources familiar with Sessions’s thinking believe he will likely accept this recommendation and fire McCabe."
A stunned Norah O’Donnell marveled, “Wow.”
In general, the journalists on CBS have showed considerable interest and excitement over Trump’s ongoing cabinet shuffle. O’Donnell appeared clearly alarmed. On Wednesday, she hyped: “It looks like a March massacre by President Trump.” Co-host Gayle King matched that, saying: “I look at it as March Madness."
On Thursday, O’Donnell worried: “It’s like a blood bath over there.” Yet, look at how little time was given to the substance of what this particular (potential) firing is about: The Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.
The Washington Post explained the situation:
Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz has for some time been working on a report that blasts McCabe for allowing two high-ranking bureau officials to sit down with the Wall Street Journal as the news outlet prepared a report in 2016 on an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s family foundation, then misleading the inspector general’s team about his actions.
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
JOHN DICKERSON: The Justice Department, speaking of firing, may fire the former deputy director, before he retires in just a few days. Andrew McCabe is accused of lack of candor when talking with FBI officials about the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and his conduct — contact with a reporter who wrote about it. Paula Reid is at headquarters in Washington. Paula, good morning.
PAULA REID: Good morning. Now, McCabe stepped down back in January but he was expected to officially retire this weekend. But if Attorney General Jeff Sessions fires him, he could lose his pension, which amounts to potentially millions of dollars in retirement. Sources tell CBS News that ethics officials at the FBI have recommend that McCabe be fired because he was not fully forthcoming about whether he shared information with the media about the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Now, those familiar with the McCabe side of the story say in his position he was authorized to talk to reporters. And, of course, President Trump has been extremely critical of the former deputy director. Back in December, he tweeted “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?” Now, unlike the Attorney General or the head of the FBI, McCabe does not serve at the pleasure of the President. He cannot be fired without some evidence of wrongdoing. But we know the Attorney General is under scrutiny from the President. And this is an internal recommendation. So, sources familiar with Sessions’s thinking believe he will likely accept this recommendation and fire McCabe. Norah?
NORAH O’DONNELL: Wow! Paula, thank you.